The single most important question needing to be asked by customers seeking out new texting platforms is: “are the texts sent by a human or an autodialer?” Interestingly enough, the majority of customers are unaware of this question.
There are actually decades of legal battles behind this question, and the law that was created in regards to it is extremely strict. The FCC enforces this law and any organization violating it will incur a fine of up to $16,000 PER violation.
Here’s the link to the FCC page regarding its rules surrounding political calls and texts: https://www.fcc.gov/rules-political-campaign-calls-and-texts
Because of the relative ease and simplicity, political campaigns are turning more and more to texting as a means of expanding their marketing efforts and voter outreach. Interestingly enough, political campaign texts have the ability to greatly increase voter interest and turnout.
However, it’s essential that you’re fully informed and that you educate yourself on the details of the technology behind the texting platform.
- Also called Human to Human Text Messaging;
- This is basically the same as if you were using your own cell phone to text a friend;
- Each message is sent individually and manually by a human;
- No special permission is required in order to message a contact;
- And is the ONLY TEXTING OPTION offered by RoboCent.
Bulk AutoDialer Texting
Uses an AutoDialer in order to send thousands of texts a second to a list of contacts;
Prior written opt-in consent is required in order to contact a phone number with an AutoDialer;
RoboCent DOES NOT SEND bulk texts.
Managed vs. Self-Service
RoboCent offers both Managed and Self-Service options to meet your mass texting requirements. This is actually how we determine who’s going to be sending the outbound texts, and it’s also done on a case by case basis.
If you end up going with the “Managed” option, RoboCent’s team of In-House Agents take over and then handle all outbound sending. You then pick a start time, and our agents make sure that that is the time your message will begin sending.
If you go with the “Self-Service” option, instead of RoboCent’s agents taking over, your team of staff and volunteers will be responsible for all outbound sending for the entirety of the campaign.
Who Sends the Texts?
The RoboCent Platforms requires that each text message is sent by a Human Agent. Remember, Peer-to-Peer Text Messaging is not automated. Although RoboCent does use a dialer to automatically call each number on the contact list, text messaging adheres to much stricter set of legal requirements.
For example, in order to send a text without Opt-in consent, the message to the contact must be initiated by a human. This means that for every text sent through our platform, a human has individually, and manually, clicked the “send message” button.
Though human-to-human texting has the benefit of actual human interaction, the whole process can become too time consuming and unrealistic for most political campaigns and organizations to actually stick with.
RoboCent offers a great solution to this issue though! We employ over 30 agents at all times whose sole job specification is to send your outbound texts.
One of the biggest problems that campaigns run into is that although other providers do offer “In-House Texting Agents”, those agents aren’t actually based in the U.S., aren’t registered to vote, don’t participate in U.S. elections, and don’t even speak or write fluent English.
RoboCent’s agents are U.S. based, registered to vote and regularly participate in U.S. elections, and can communicate fluently in English. We don’t use overseas call banks and we don’t employ overworked office workers.
Our agents consist of a network of freelance people who are interested in US politics. Not only this, but each agent is vetted and trusted with your content. RoboCent also requires that each agent operate under an NDA, which offers further guarantee that your information is secure and private.
However, if you would prefer that your own staff, volunteers, or even yourself, send the text messages, the Agent Portal is a tool set up specifically for you. Check out this link if you’d like some more in depth information on Agent Portal’s In-House Agents.
Agent Portal’s In-House Agents average between 7,500 – 10,000 texts per hour. Our users typically average somewhere between 4,000 – 6,000 texts per hour, though they can theoretically send the texts at the same speed as our Agents.
Human-Initiated Text vs. Automated Text
There are some key differences between human-initiated texts and automated texts. We’ll go into more detail here.
Human-initiated texting is a fancy phrase to describe a text that has real human involvement in its creation and sending. This means that a human presses the button to send the text to the contact.
RoboCent’s platform only uses human agents to send each text. This inspires confidence because you won’t have to worry about human vs. automated text senders. There will always be a human behind your texts.
An automated text, also called a bulk text, is a text sent by an autodialer. There is no human intervention in this process.
Something important here is that unless you have written, opt-in consent to contact your voters, it’s illegal to use automated texts to message them.
Can I Use an Automated Texting Platform?
The answer to this depends entirely on the type of content you’re planning to send out via text.
The CTIA (https://www.ctia.org/), which is the organization representing the U.S. wireless communications industry and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem, says that a text message originating from a political entity or business is a one-way alert and therefore requires express written consent in order to contact the consumer with an autodialer.
If you do plan to use an automated texting platform, just remember that you’ll need to first obtain express written consent from the owner of each phone number that you’ll be contacting.
So this means that as long as you’ve obtained consent, that consent hasn’t been revoked, and you’ve independently created and vetted the opt-in list, you’ll be able to use an automated texting platform.
The System RoboCent Uses
When it comes to text messaging, we take security and privacy very seriously at RoboCent. We exclusively use our own proprietary, human initiated text messaging system.
It’s because of this that we DO NOT provide an autodialer capable of sending automated, bulk text messages to contacts. This means that each text sent through our system is human initiated.
An added benefit of RoboCent’s proprietary system is that you’ll be able to use our human-based system to text your contacts individually, even if you don’t have written, opt-in consent to bulk-text your contacts’ phone numbers.
The Actual Humans Sending the Texts
RoboCent’s in-house agents are the humans behind the texts once you’ve selected our managed sending option. When you schedule your text campaign, you’ll be able to enable this feature.
However, if you would prefer to use your own agents to send the messages, you can select our self-service option. This still ensures that humans are doing the sending.
What Exactly is an Autodialer
The FCC’s legal definition of an autodialer is: “The TCPA defines an autodialer as equipment which has the capacity – (A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (B) to dial such numbers.”
To put this into laymen’s terms, an autodialer is a system that can autonomously text numbers in quick succession with no human intervention.
The TCPA is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This act, which went into place in 1991, is the document outlining the approved ways in which a landline or mobile phone can be contacted. It set the legal precedent for all phone communications, both political and business, and has been used ever since its start.
Can Contacts Tell the Difference Between Human & Automated Texts?
Contacts receiving large-scale political campaign texts aren’t able to tell the difference between manual texts, human-initiated texts, and automated texts.
Do People Actually Get Sued for Automated Texts?
Yes! Not only do these lawsuits happen all the time, they’re huge, expensive headaches.